European shares inch higher but set for worst quarter since 2002

Reuters March 31 | Updated on March 31, 2020

European stocks inched higher on Tuesday with investors buying into defensive sectors as they awaited further signs that the economy could weather the fallout from a near total global shut-down to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 1.1 per cent at 0706 GMT, with real estate stocks, utilities and telecoms usually considered stable during heightened volatility adding between 0.9 per cent and 1.5 per cent.

Still, the benchmark index was set to end its worst quarter since 2002, with investor confidence far from stable amid a rout that erased more than $3 trillion from the value of European firms in just over a month.

In a bright spot, HelloFresh jumped 12 per cent to a record high after the German meal-kit delivery firm forecast first-quarter revenue above market expectations.

Published on March 31, 2020

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